Perhaps it may turn out a sang,
Perhaps turn out a sermon.

-- R. Burns Epistle to a Young Friend

Friday, May 27, 2016

The Field

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. -- John 3:17

Some of us spend a lot of time talking about how corrupt the world is.  We are called out of the world as Israel was called out of Egypt.  Yet Egypt remained.  It was judged and chastised but not destroyed.  When threatened by the wrath of Herod, Mary and Joseph carried Jesus into hiding in Egypt.  Whatever the world does, God still loves it.  The Lord died in agony and humiliation that the world might be delivered. 

I tend to think that people with extensive tattoos, piercings, bizarre hair colors, and some of the more grotesque body modifications are revealing the damage in their souls.  The world does not know it is loved. The more sensitive and thoughtful of the worldlings recognize their lost state but do not know the cure.  They have no hope, and the deterioration and decadence that has become so blatant the last few decades reflects that hopelessness. 

The average Christian and the average Christian church offer the world little apart from out-of-context platitudes, rituals, and restraints.  In the context of Christ, those things not only make sense but are transformative.  It is rather like the atheists who don’t believe in a god no one else believes in.  Unless we can show people Jesus, they will never understand our hope. 

Though we are not of the world, we are in the world and abandoning the world is not an option that is open to us.   The Promised Land always lies between Egypt and Babel.  Abraham was never allowed to go back to Mesopotamia but he did go down to Egypt.  Israel was carried away captive into Babylon, but Jesus fled to safety in Egypt.  There is something that is an abomination to God, but it is not the world.  The Lord hates the demonic nature of a corrupted and compromised religion.  He will not tolerate those who would climb up to heaven on their piles of filth.  This, we, too, reject outright.

The world is not our home; it is our field.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Interesting Times

For he says, In a favorable time I listened to you, and in a day of salvation I have helped you.  Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation. -- 2 Corinthians 6:2

Talk of living for today or seizing the day, means, for too many of us, ignoring the consequences of bad choices.  My sister used to leave the supper dishes unwashed.  Her excuse was that she might die overnight and someone else would have to wash them.  We use our credit cards for unnecessary purchases today without thinking about the interest and other charges we may have to pay later.  We eat too much and later complain about gaining weight.  We sit on the couch and watch television instead of exercising and wonder why we are out of shape.

I prefer the more colloquial and picturesque expression, “Make hay while the sun shines.”  You can listen too much to the weatherman, and one thing is sure:   there is no putting up hay when the sun isn’t shining.  Take full advantage of the current conditions.  If it is raining, cloudy, or dark, there are other things you can do. 

I am living today in the future I once looked forward to.  So are you.  I have said before that we cannot change the past but we can change what the past means through our actions and attitude in the present.  The future, on the other hand -- despite what some believe about determinism, is not set.  Our choices today play a part in how tomorrow plays out. 

We cannot know what will come to us tomorrow, but the Lord advises us to … not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble (Matthew 6:34).  All I really need to know is that, tomorrow, Jesus is still Lord.

Meanwhile, I can be thankful that I have today.  Sometimes I think I was born a hundred years too late but maybe not.  It could be that you and I are alive today because this is our day.  The old Chinese curse “may you live in interesting times” has come to pass for us.  Peace, prosperity and ease are nice, but interesting is interesting.